During a recent concert tour in Ireland, JD Wilkes visited The Mansion House, the official and historic home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. Representing Mayor Gayle Kaler, Wilkes presented literature from Paducah writers and a quilt as a gesture of friendship from one UNESCO Creative City to another. The tokens of creativity exchanged by the two cities are representative of a cultural connection between Dublin as a UNESCO Creative City of Literature and Paducah as a UNESCO City of Crafts & Folk Art.

“I was honored to be chosen to represent my hometown in this prestigious exchange of art and literature,” said Wilkes. “Kentucky and Ireland share a common culture, a lyrical cadence and even a geological vein! Whether it's the Bluegrass State or the Emerald Isle, I always feel right at home."

Wilkes is the front man of JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers and author of "Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky," an illustration of Ireland’s influence on Kentucky music. The Dirt Daubers visited Dublin on a tour of Ireland in May 2014. The band’s original music, inspired by blues and other southern music genres, is featured in the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau’s destination video and commercials.

 “We are thrilled that JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers shared the rich traditions of quilting and American roots music with the Lord Mayor and people of Dublin, Ireland,” said Laura Schaumburg of the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau. “What an honor it is for Paducahans to connect with other cultures through creativity and expand partnerships through the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.”

Mayor Gayle Kaler and the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau helped coordinate the exchange at The Mansion House of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. The quilt presented was created by the Piecemakers Quilt Guild of Brandon, Florida and acquired during the National Quilt Museum’s auction during AQS QuiltWeek – Paducah.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Paducah, Kentucky a City of Crafts & Folk Art in November 2013. The Creative Cities Network aims to create new opportunities to showcase diverse cultural assets and creativity on a global platform.